Marcello Mastroianni gives a sensitive, finely judged performance as Enrico, a struggling journalist in the Rome of 1945. He receives a phone call informing him that his younger brother Lorenzo (Jacques Perrin) has died. Enrico recalls their long and difficult relationship; he was brought up by their poor but warm-hearted grandmother (Sylvie), Lorenzo was raised as a gentleman by a wealthy local aristocrat. Reunited in the Florence of the 1930s, Enrico becomes his spoilt brother's keeper, forever haunted by a sense of guilty responsibility towards a man he both hates and loves. Beautifully photographed by Giuseppe Rotunno, this austere, deeply-felt masterwork has been acclaimed as one of Zurlini's greatest achievements.